Georg Jander received a B.S. in Computer Science from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University. Subsequently, as a postdoc at Massachusetts General Hospital, he investigated the role of glucosinolates in Arabidopsis defense against caterpillar herbivory. He continued his research on Arabidopsis metabolism as a scientist at Cereon Genomics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since 2002, Jander has been a faculty member at the Boyce Thompson Institute in Ithaca, New York, with an adjunct appointment in the School of Integrative Plant Sciences at Cornell University. Students and postdocs in the Jander lab are using biochemical and genetic approaches to investigate plant-insect interactions, with a focus on the identification and functional analysis of small molecules that mediate these interactions. Natural, within-species variation in plant resistance to insect herbivory is an area of particular interest. Genetic mapping, in combination with HPLC-MS metabolite profiling and insect bioassays, is being used to identify previously unknown genes involved in the biosynthesis of plant defensive metabolites. Other experiments demonstrate that small molecules in insect saliva can alter the physiology of host plants to make them more suitable for insect feeding. Plant species currently being studied in the Jander lab include Zea mays (maize), Setaria viridis (green foxtail), and Erysimum cheiranthoides (wormseed wallflower).
Boyce Thompson Institute